State : Uttarpradesh
37 kms from Agra is built a city predominantly in Red Sandstone
and is called Fatehpur Sikri. This town was built by the Mughal
Emperor, Akbar. He had planned this city as his capital but shortage
of water compelled him to abandon the city. After this within 20
years, the capital of Mughals was shifted to Lahore. Fatehpur Sikri
was built during 1571 and 1585. Today this ghost city has a population
of about 30,000. This deserted city has retained many of the old
structures, because of the efforts of the Archaeological department
. Fatehpur Sikri is one of the finest examples of Mughal architectural
splendour at its height. Though the city is in ruins, it is a place
to visit if one comes to Agra.But in real terms Fatehpur Sikri is
a place where one should spend some time. The sunset over the ruins
is sight to cherish. Fatehpur Sikri is the best example of the culmination
of Hindu and Muslim architecture. Fatehpur Sikri Mosque is said
to be a copy of the mosque in Mecca and has designs, derived from
the Persian & Hindu architecture.
Important Monumnents in Fatehpur Sikari
Diwan-I-Aam (Hall of Public Audience)
is an enclosed space surrounded
by colonnades and has a large open area where petitioners and courtiers
once stood in attendance. On the western face of this building is
the pavilion where the emperor sat in honor surrounded by his courtiers.
Diwan-I-Khas (Hall of Private Audience):
used for serious, confidential, diplomatic, and religious discourses—is
just behind. The Diwan-I-Khas is famous for its central decorated
pillar consisting of 36 elegantly carved brackets in the Gujarati
style—heavy and ornate, and sprouting in shape.
The most intriguing building in Fatehpur Sikri is the Panch Mahal
(five-tiered palace):- which is a five-storied pavilion of winds.
The first two floors are of equal size, while the next two are graded.
On top is a single kiosk or open pavilion. Each of the floors is
supported on pillars. Originally, jali screens stood between the
pillars. The pavilion was originally used by the women of the royal
household and ladies of the harem. From the top of the Panch Mahal,
one can have a panoramic view of this imperial city with its buildings,
palaces, and the courtyards linking them. The Turkish Sultan’s
palace is known for exquisitely carved panels depicting wildlife—lions,
birds, and foliage. Near the Diwan-I-Aam, one can see a tank called
the Anup Talao. Four bridges link the central platform at the Anup
Talao. Here the famous court musician Tansen played music. Akbar’s
private apartments stand close to the tank.
Jodha Bai’s Palace (Jodha Bai was Akbar’s Rajput queen)
has the most distinctively Gujarati and Rajasthani architectural
features. A strong portal guards this place, which was the residence
of Akbar’s prominent queens. Also noteworthy are Mariam’s
Palace or Sunehra Makan (golden house), Palace of Birbal (one of
Akbar’s minister notable for his witticisms) and a miniature
Jami Masjid (mosque)
sacred center of Sikri, symbolizes the city’s spiritual prominence.
It stands at the southwestern
of Fatehpur Sikri. A high wall with gateways on three sides opens
into a huge courtyard, 111 by 139 meters, making it the largest
to be found in the Mughal period. The inner walls are lined with
columns and cloisters and the western façade has a massive
arched doorways behind which are three domes. In the vast courtyard
stands the tomb of Sheikh Salim Chisti whose blessings are still
sought by childless women. This tomb was originally built in red
sandstone but was later on made with marble. The tombstone covered
by cloth is under a canopy of ebony, mother of pearl and brass.
A corridor for circumambulation surrounds the square tomb chamber.
The corridor has jail screens having a marvelous quality and the
intricately carved serpentine brackets in white marble are pieces
of sheer splendor. The tomb has a low dome.
Buland Darwaza ( triumphal gateway)
built in 1575 to celebrate
Akbar’s successful Gujarat campaign, is the most stupendous
architectural work of the Mughals. The gateway is approached by
a steep flight of steps, which add height and majesty to the entire
structure. The gateway is designed in colored stone and marble.
The gateway is so awesome that it hides the magnificent Jami Masjid
(mosque), which is just behind.
How to Reach
Agra's Kheria airport is situated 6km from the city centre.
It is well connected with Delhi (204km-30 minutes flight) and major
places in India. Flights are on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and
Agra is a major railway Junction and has several railway
stations and connects the city to major places in the north as well
as the south. Agra Cantonment Railway station is the main terminal,
located southwest of the city. Two of the main services are the
Taj Express and the Shatabdi which connects Agra to Delhi, Gwalior,
Jhansi and Bhopal. Other services are the Karnataka Express (New
Delhi-Bangalore), the Jhelum Express (Jammu Tawi-Pune) and the Toofan
Express (New Delhi—Calcutta).
Agra is well linked by bus services to other places
in the State as well as outside the state and national highways
2,3 and 11 pass through the city. The state transports have deluxe
as well as ordinary buses to Delhi (every hour), Jaipur (every half
an hour), Lucknow, Gwalior, Jhansi etc from Idgah bus station. For
local travel, taxis, tempos, auto-rickshaws and cycle rickshaws
are available. Bicycles can also be hired on hourly basis.